Chefs' Council: How to slip in healthier ingredients

Question: 

How are you slipping in healthier ingredients?

Answers from Chefs' Council

The fundamental rule of cooking Italian cuisine is less is more; the fewer ingredients you use, the more flavor. I encourage my [residents] to request fish with just lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil instead of cream sauce. I use a lot of herbs, such as basil, to balance out the lack of salt. With something more robust, like a steak, we use rosemary or sage.  

Nicola Torres
Executive Chef
The Garlands of Barrington
Barrington, Ill.

I’m in the middle of a huge recipe-testing project for the 2015-2016 academic year where we will be replacing a percentage of ground beef with ground turkey, mushrooms, beans or tofu. We are also replacing heavy cream with either half-and-half or 2 percent milk. In certain shrimp, chicken and beef dishes—stir-fry for example—we are increasing the vegetable content by at least 25 percent. 

Carrie Anderson
Executive Chef for Residential Dining
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Ill.

We are programming to have burgers that feature a 50-percent combination of local grass-fed ground beef and a fresh mushroom-duxelle mix. We are also working on sourcing another ground-beef burger with 20 percent plant-based protein. The great thing about plant-based ground protein is it absorbs the juices and natural flavors of the beef, and it’s hard to tell the difference. 

Jose M. Martinez
Senior Executive Chef
Cal Dining at University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, Calif.

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